ASO, UCI and the lesson of Augustin Navarro.
Sometimes there are two stories that happen the same day that become even more revealing and instructive when seen together.
In the first story, ASO and the UCI continue their endless battles over the direction and control of the sport of pro cycling. ASO has just announced that they are pulling their races — including the Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix — out of the WorldTour in 2107 to show how much they disagree with the reforms that the UCI and other stakeholders have decided on.
Depending on your point of view, ASO is greedy and manipulative and the UCI is deaf and unreasonable or vice versa. What is clear is that neither side seems capable of genuine dialogue and compromise for the greater good of the sport. It’s like watching two kids arguing over a toy at the playground.
The second story concerns an event that occurred in a cyclocross race in Cantabria, Spain. A Spanish cyclist named Agustin Navarro is receiving high praise for his act of good sportsmanship when he refused to pass a rival who was running to the finish line carrying his bike after a puncture in the final 300 meters. Navarro sacrificed a third place bronze medal because he felt it was the right thing to do.
Perhaps ASO and the UCI could learn a thing or two from Navarro about doing what’s right for the sport of pro cycling. And maybe Navarro needs to give a lecture to both parties about setting aside personal agendas and instead focusing on the health of the sport — for the fans, sponsors, athletes and teams.
We applaud the fair play and selfless action of Agustin Navarro and wish that ASO’s Christian Prudhomme and UCI president Brain Cookson could show the same attitude.